21 Cars You Can’t Drive In the U.S.

By dancingintheraine

September 29, 2009

Category: Uncategorized

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But Might Want To!

I saw this on a Yahoo! News page, and since I love automobiles so much, I wanted to share this with you. As you go through, you will see A LOT more detail about some cars, and nothing more than an image of others. I guess, from this, you will be able to tell which ones “WOW!”ed me… and which ones didn’t!

1. Alfa Romeo Brera

Designer:Giorgetto Giugiara


Famed Italian carmaker Pininfarina added some flair to this sporty two-door coupe. It has the front end of an old-school muscle car, but the lines and hatchback give it a more modern look. This car was designed to replace its predecessor, the Alfa Romeo GTV. It first appeared as a concept car at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show (held in Geneva, Switzerland). The concept version was powered by a Maserati V8 engine producing around 400 PS (290 kW; 390 hp). It was well received and production plans were announced. This sports car was introduced by the Italian automaker in 2005. The original exterior appearance was almost exactly maintained with the slight difference of a smaller scale, becoming a mid-size coupe on the GM/Fiat Premium platform. It’s counterpart, the convertible Spider was offered a year later.

The Brera is available with 2 petrol engines and 1 diesel engine:

—> 2.2L JTS I-4 {185 PS (136 kW;182 hp)}

—> 3.2L JTS V6 {260 PS (190 kW; 260 hp)}

—>2.4L JTD I-4 {210 PS (150 kW; 210 hp)}

Cars with the diesel or the 2.2 are front-wheel drive while the VS comes with the option of a Torsen 4-wheel drive system similar to the ones found in the 156 and 159’s Q4, or front wheel drive. The top speed for the V6 model is 250 km (160 mph). All models are fitted with electronic Q2 limited slip differential. Reduction of weight was achieved by using more aluminum parts. The 2009 version is introducing a new turbocharged petrol engine badged as “TBi”. This 1742 cc unit has direct injection and variable valve timing in both inlet and exhaust cams. This new engine has 200 PS (147 kW; 197 hp) and 320 N-m (240 lb-ft) of torque. It is reported that a 230 PS (169 kW; 227 bhp) version of the “TBi” 1.75L will also be available that will give the Brera a 0-100 km/h (62 mph time of about 7.3 seconds.



Before it was released, the Alfa Brera concept car was voted “Best of Show” by Autoweek magazine at the Geneva Motor Show,[9] “Best of Show” in the prototype category at the Villa d’Este Concorso D’Eleganze, it picked up two prizes at Challenge Bibendum 2002, and “the Most Fascinating Car” award at the Super Car Rally 2002 form Paris to Monte Carlo.

Brera was elected to European Car of the Year 2007 in Japan.

Best Sports/Coupe – What Diesel Car?

European Automotive Design Award 2006

Best Design Award 2006 by Autocar Magazine

Best Coupe – Croatian Car of the Year Awards 2006

References: I-4 = Inline 4 (engine type)

JTS = Jet Thrust Stoichiometric engine, gasoline direct injection engine produced by Alfa Romeo.

JTD = Uni-Jet Turbo Diesel


2. Artega GT

Designer: Henrick Fisker

Available: Europe

The Artega GT is a mid-engined, rear wheel drive 2-seat sports car produced by the German manufacturer Artega Motors. It is currently Artega’s first and only model for sale. Designed by the many who cooked up the Aston martin V8 Vantage and the BMW Z8, this sports car takes its cues from classic Ferrari (FIATY) and Porsche shapes. It first appeared in the 2007 Geneva Auto Show. Its aluminum space frame and carbon-fiber reinforced body keeps the vehicle light (approximately 1,100 kg (2,425 lbs) and quick. The engine is a Volkswagen-sourced direct injection 3.6L (3597 cc) V6 producing 300 hp (220 kW) and 350 N-m (260 lb-ft) mated to a 6-speed DSG transmission. Acceleration from 0-100 km/h is expected to be under five seconds, with top speed estimated to be over 270 km/hr (170 mph). Currently, it retails for 75,000L. Production is limited to roughly 500 units per year. The first Artega GT was released at the 2007 Frankfurt Auto Show.

Resources: DSG transmission = Direct-Shift Gearbox (Direkt-Schalt-Getriebe)


3. BMW E61 Touring


4. Citroën C3 Picasso


5. Ford Ka

We had fun with this name and accents (laughs)


6. Honda Life


7. HSV Grange


8. Lancia Delta


9. Lotus Europa S

Designer: Russell Carr

Available: Europe

The name of the Lotus Europa S, a GT Type two seater, is borrowed from the legendary Lotus Europa of the 60’s and 70’s. While it’s designed to complement the Lotus Elise sports car and its derivative, the Exige, the Europa S is more “relaxed” with a larger boot, greater sound proofing, and easier cabin access due to the lower chassis sides (dropped 40mm (1.6 inches) as compared with the Elise and Exige) and higher roof line (90 mm (3.53 inches) as compared to the Elise and Exige). It includes such luxuries as air conditioning, a sound system (CD/MP3 player with speakers mounted in the rear bulk head and the top facia panel), central door locking, electric windows, driver and passenger airbags, Satellite Navigation, leather interior (black or tan), and plush interior carpeting as standard equipment in keeping with European Grand Touring (GT) auto tradition. The small ergonomically shaped steering wheel is located to hand and the lightweight steel and extruded aluminum petals are positioned to make heel and toe changes easy. ProBax seats help to significantly improve postural position of the driver and passenger by maintaining the natural curvature of the spine, which, in turn, improves the comfort and the body’s blood flow. (I sure wish other cars would take this into consideration!). This car comes so highly equipped that there are no additional cost options, other than premium paint or custom colors.

Safety is not stiffed on this car. The chassis is strong and stiff, creating a safety cell around which are clad lightweight absorbing composite crash structures and body panels. The Europa S has been tried and tested all active and passive safety systems. Another thing not taken into consideration is the role that the car’s low weight plays in significantly reducing occupant injury. By being so light, there is less energy to dissipate in the event of a crash, when compared to a much heavier sports car. When it comes down it, though, the best way to remain unhurt is to avoid the accident all together, right? All Lotus cars have high levels of grip, predictable, responsive handling, incredible ABS-assisted braking performance, and almost peerless feedback to the drive about how the car is behaving in a variety of driving conditions.

This is one of the few Lotus models not to make it to the United States. With its stealth side air intakes, low overall height, large rims, and concave hood, the sports car reeks of speed. It is light weight, at only 995 kg (2194 lb) with a 149 kW (200hp) 2.0L engine. It uses an extruded and bonded aluminum chassis with composite body panels and front crash structure. While it is claimed that the Europa S is a derivative of the Lotus Type 111 Elise and Exige cars, it is only that they sport variations of the same bonded aluminum chassis, and the Europa bears a separate Lotus model designation (Type 121) due, in part, to its longer chassis and completely new body type. The chassis itself weighs 68 kg, but still maintains high levels of stiffness and strength.

This mid-engined coupe sports a 2.0L turbocharged GM Ecotec engine producing 147 kW (197 hp/203 PS) at 5400 rpm. It is mounted on a lightweight and strong, galvanized steel subframe. The torquey 272 N-m (200 ft-lbf) engine allows the car to reach 99 km/h (60 mph) in around 5.5 seconds, and 161 km/h (100 mph) in around 13.8 seconds. Maximum speed is 230 km/h (143 mph). What I found entertaining was that it achieves about 90% of its maximum torque at only 2000 rpm, which gives it wonderful levels of acceleration at low engine speeds. In tradition with the Lotus name, it has a competitive power to weight ratio of 204 PS / tonne (or 6.68 kg/kW) (201 hp / ton). Couple this with the aluminum 6-speed gearbox, which joins the engine to an open differential, and you won’t be sitting still long! Sitting on elegant and lightweight 17” diameter wheels and shod with bespoke Bridgestone Potenza tires (175/55 R17 on the front, and 225/45 R17 on the rear) one can only expect a comfortable and safe ride home. And stopping is not going to be an issue, as this wonderful work of art comes equipped with a braking system designed by Lotus/AP-Racing, with their race-designed twin-piston fixed aluminum alloy brake calipers at the front and Brembo single-piston sliding calipers at the rear. The 282 mm diameter ventilated discs are linked to a servo-assisted, 4-channel ABS.

It was originally planned to be manufactured at the parent company Proton’s factory in Malaysia, allowing for significantly lower sale price, but the company chose the Lotus Hethel factory (Norfolk, UK) for its production. The first delivery of the Europa S began in September 2006. MSRP was estimated to be approximately 33,000L ($49,000). It’s not sold in the United States because the Opel/Vauxhall-built turbo is not currently certified to meet emissions requirements for the United States.


10. Mini Cooper D (Diesel)


11. Nissan GT-R SpecV

When looking up details on this beauty, it was mentioned that “It’s Godzilla gone nuclear!” by Gen Tanaka of Motor Trend. This two seater does not contain a back seat, but sports GBP36,000-plus world-beating carbon-ceramic brakes, a high gear boost control, unique fixed Bilstein suspension, and ultra-high-performance 20-inch Rays rims and extra grippy Bridgestone rubber. This supercar also sports multiple details made from carbon fiber. The paint job, which Nissan calls “ultimate black opal,” reflects hues against the dark base.

Pumping out 478 hp, the SpecV’s 3.8L V6 twin turbo only gets 5 extra horses over the 2008 R35 model. It will do 0-60 in 3.4 seconds and the quarter mile in under 11.5 stock, even with a revised VDC unit that is suggested to “leave on.” The aim was not to add power but to take the car’s handling to the next level. To lift the thrill factor, curb weight is down by 132 lbs and a new high gear boost control device has been added to broaden the car’s 434 lb-ft of torque for around 80 sec by 14 lb-ft to 448 lb-ft between 3500 and 5200 rpm. Flick the switch on the steering wheel and the boost control engages instantly giving you a noticeable, but not explosive, shove in the back. Another cool feature is that Kazutoshi Mizuno (chief engineer) has tuned the exhaust not into a beefier, raspier tune that us V8 lovers can appreciate, thanks to a layer of titanium coating. It almost sounds like a race car.

With all that go, stopping is a must. The “world’s best brakes” on a road-going car (according to Mizuno) was added to this beast. The six-piston Brembo carbon ceramic package boasts a unique mix of carbon and ceramic “thatching” that dissipates heat and resists face more than any current brake assembly, even a Ferrari FXX (according to Mizuno). Something noticed was that once you get some heat into those carbon-ceramic rotors and pads, they glow bright red under the stress of stopping from 120 mph. That’s some outrageous stopping power! To stick the car to the ground, Nissan also fitted the SpecV with upgraded 20-inch Bridgestone RE070 run-flats that boast thicker sidewalls and shoulders and a stickier tread pattern. Between the brakes and the tires, one source told Motor Trend that over 2 g are generated under full braking from 150 mph. The downside? You’ll need to win the lottery just to change your brakes! The price tag is at $50,000!!! Also assisting in performance is the newly fitted fixed Bilstein dampers that helps the car stay flatter and more stable with less nose dive, and, according to the test driver, this combination of modifications makes the car feel a lot lighter and more chuckable.

So what does this bad boy cost? Well, first, it won’t be seen in the U.S., as Nissan is only able to build 30 unit a month, all of which are to be sold in Japan for the foreseeable future. The premium price tag is $167,000. Mizuno said he was ready to turn up at the Nurburgring in Germany to break Nissan’s own 7 min/29-sec lap time. He says that with this production car, it should be no problem breaking the Corvette ZR1’s 6-min/26-sec lap.


12. Opel Speedster

Designer: Niels Loeb, Martin Smith, and Steven Crijns

Available: Europe

This car was produced as the Vauxhall VX220, but sold as the Opel Speedster in mainland Europe. This mid-engined, targa-topped, 2-seater sports car is British-build and introduced in the summer of 2008. Built for GM Europe, it comes in both right-hand drive and left-hand drive versions, out of the Lotus Plant in Hethel, Norfolk, England. The left-hand driver version was badged the Opel Speedster for mainland Europe distribution, and the right-hand drive version the Vauxhall VX220 for UK distribution. The VX220 carries the Lotus internal model Identification Lotus 116 and the code name Skipton for the 2.2N/A version and Tornadofor the 2.0L Turbo. The low-sling Speedster features dramatic aerodynamic lines, side air intakes, and a sharp front end. The chassis utilizes an aluminum chassis tub that weighs only 68 kg (150 lb). The body is made of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) to keep it nimble. The entire car weighs in at only 930 kg (2,050 lbs), much lighter than most small sports cars.

The normally aspirated version uses a Vauxhall Astra all aluminum alloy 2.2L Z22SE engine, giving 108 kW (147 PS; 145 bhp) in a car weighing 870 kg (1,918 lbs)—originally designed for GM by Lotus, it arguable gives the VX220 more mechanical Lotus content than the Elise. The Turbo model, introduced in 2003, used a GM designed cast iron block 2.0L Z20LET engine, producing 147 kW (200 PS; 197 bhp) but weighing 930 kg (2,050 lb). While Lotus designed it to have 16 inch front wheels and 17 inch rear wheels, GM decided to fit 17 inch wheels from and rear for aesthetic reasons, which reduced the handling performance of the car. The removable hard-top can be fitted as a factor or after-market option, arguably providing better looks and aerodynamics. And the scissor doors add to the wow factor.

This is the model to replace the Lotus Elise Series 1, as it was unable to be produced beyond the 2000 model production year due to new European regulations around crash sustainability. So while Lotus needed a development partner to meet the investment requirement, GM Europe needed a headline car to revamp what was considered boring and non-aspirational brands in Opel and Vauxhall. While this car has a lot in common with the Lotus Elise, GM Europe claims few parts are interchangeable.

With its low weight, mid-mounted engine, high torsional rigidity, and ample horsepower, the car is extremely quick and agile. Thanks in part to the car’s light weight, the turbo version was able to reach a top speed of 242 km/h (151 mph) and accelerate from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.9 seconds The base price was around 32,000L ($50,704) for the 2.2 and 36,000L ($57,042) for the turbocharged version.

The car was hailed by the motoring press as a great drivers’ car and won several accolades with the 2.2 NA (Naturally Aspirated) version being considered the easier to drive of the two standard variants. Some journalists recommended that the Vauxhall car was better value for money than the Lotus (Jeremy Clarkson in his 2003 DVD Shoot Out). The Vauxhall VX220 formed the cover for the Dreamcast game, Metropolis Street Racer and featured heavily in the game’s promotional material.

The production line ended in 2005 with no direct successor. It was not until GM Europe adapted the Pontiac Solstice/Saturn Sky into the Opel GT in 2007 that GM Europe had a replacement sector product. There is no right-hand drive Vauxhall version for the UK.


13. Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster


14. Peugeot RCZ


15. Renault Mégane Coupe


16. Seat Ibiza Ecomotive


17. Tata Nano


18. Toyota Century Royal


19. Toyota Crown Majesta


20. Volkswagen Scirocco


21. Wiesmann GT MF5

Designer: Weismann brothers

Available: Europe

This car was inspired by British engineering of the 1960’s (I noticed a trend in the automotive industry for last year’s answer to nostalgia). From the triple-curved hood to the distinctive spoiler, this car is certainly eye-catching. The large front end, oversize wheels, and cockpit-like driver’s area make this beauty seem as if it’s in constant motion. The Weismann brothers created a perfectly proportioned roadster with hints of the Jaguar XK120, Jensen CV8, and some of the Austin Healeys of the time. They have been a rave hit in Germany, Switzerland, and Asia.

The MF3, and subsequent MF4GT (even with the 4.4L V8) were never going to be enough to fill the demand. Soon, BMW’s 5.0L V10 front-mounted engine arrived on the scene, boasting a full 507 hp (378 kW)in a car that weighs 1,380 kg (3,042 lb), which is more than 100 kg more than the MF4GT, but the performance has not suffered. This rocket has enormous traction off the line. The sheer simplicity of the drivetrain, which comes complete with the seven-speed SMG paddle shift setup with a variable differential lock, means it will scorch to 60 mph in a claimed 3.9 seconds and on to a 193 mph (310 km/h) despite a front end that’s about as aerodynamically sound as the apartment I live in. The lighter weight of the car also makes the gearbox feel less jerky thanks to the lower inertia. The important thing to note, is that while Friedhelm Wiesmann was developing a car that insured a comfortable ride, more importantly was that it insured safety at all times. Another side note, the MF5 is 5 cm lower than the previous generation, 9.6cm wider and total length increased by 8 cm to 4.3 meters, giving it an even lower center of gravity, providing more stability… or more precisely: roadability.

For those of us that appreciate a mean sounding engine, this V10 has the high-revving sound reminiscent of a de-tuned, old-school F1 car. The exterior is designed to give maximum cooling to this hot V10. There are vents, a rear diffuser and a sculpted wing that conflict with the whole design philosophy, but creates enough down-force at the higher speeds, and it is exactly those speeds for which the GT MF5 was built for. (Design philosophy be damned!) This low-slung body, a Lotus-style aluminum monocoque mated to a magical suspension kit, makes it hug those tight corners. All of you know how it feels to ride in a traditional sports car on anything other than glass-smooth road (boy, I remember how Christine would chatter my teeth!) The Weismann brothers have learned how to squash bumps without sacrificing cornering skills. The tires look like rubber bands sitting on giant rims, which makes no sense to me, as I’m accustomed to thinking that a little more sidewall would improve the ride. One reporter of European Car Web.com reported that this “goes beyond divine intervention. To achieve these kinds of results the Wiesmanns must have slaughtered virgins and prayed to a lower power.” I had to laugh at that one!

A gecko logo was chosen to signify that the car holds the road as well as the lizard sticks to a wall, and, according to test drivers, it does. It is claimed that the handling is race-car good, totally neutral despite most of the weight coming from the drivetrain and sitting up front in the car. The car can slide all day long if you got the guts!

For all you might hunters out there, it’s stated that you can even shoot an animal and bring in your own hide for the interior, although the typical leather interior looks far better than what I’m afraid some of you would offer up. All the leather is hand-stitched.

Now here’s where things get a little scary. At 140,000L ($221,829.51), this car is prepared to go head to head with the Ferrari 430 Scuderia and the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. Chosen as the Official Safety Car for 2009 FIA GT Championship, this car is not for the typical sports car enthusiast. It is for the connoisseur of exquisite rides. I guess I’m going to be waiting a while to get my hands on this steering wheel.


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